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Oriental garden lizard
- Calotes versicolor

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Although the Oriental garden lizard can be found relatively frequently and at a fairly low price in the trade, not easy to raise, so many wild-caught animals are still being sold.
Oriental garden lizard
Oriental garden lizard – J.M.Garg, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Distribution and habitat

I don't know why this beautiful reptile is called Oriental garden lizard, It may be because of the red pouch in the throat or, according to population, for his red head, but this lizard is not a Bloodsuckers. The Oriental garden lizard lives from eastern Iraq to southeast Asia in various habitats, diurnal animals live mainly on insects, small invertebrates and vertebrates to mice, only rarely do they eat plant foods.


The Oriental garden lizard (Calotes versicolor), found in open areas with shrubs and trees, often also in human settlements. They are usually solitary animals, since males are very territorial and females also react aggressively to other congeners. Males have a dorsal crest that extends from the nape to the root of the tail.. Coloration varies, usually have a yellow head and red throat. The transverse bands, which can be light or dark, are visible on the back.

Sexual dimorphism

Oriental garden lizard
Blood-sucking tree dragon in Narsapur, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh, India. – J.M.Garg, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Males have a distinctive dorsal crest that extends from the back of the head to the root of the tail.. Older specimens have a more massive head and a thicker tail root.. Animals show a remarkable ability to change color. In general, males are less contrasted than females.

The splendid coloration of the male is characteristic. At first there is a pale yellowish coloration of the head and a greenish yellow neck and back. The neck and back end up changing color to a dark blackish brown, while the throat and head stand out for their intense red coloration. A black band emerges from the throat to the cheeks. Limbs become very dark, while the tail clears. Females have a short nuchal crest.

The "Oriental garden lizard" in captivity

Although the Oriental garden lizard can be found relatively frequently and at a fairly low price in the trade, not easy to raise, so many wild-caught animals are still being sold. Unfortunately, these beautiful animals are often kept incorrectly. The Oriental garden lizard must be kept in pairs or groups with one male and several females


Oriental garden lizard
Bloodsucking Tree Dragon in Dehradun, India – Rakesh Kumar Dogra, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its terrarium it must be big. A length of 180-200 cm., a height of 130 cm and a depth of 70 cm..

In principle, the caregiver of terrarium you can design the tank as you like. It is important that there is plenty of room to climb and that the relative humidity is not less than the 70%. In the warmest place, lizards need a temperature of around 40°C.

for breeding, it is important to have males and females of the same range. Otherwise, there will be no synchronization in sexual maturity and reproduction will remain an unfulfilled dream.

A single female from the population shown here from Vietnam produced no less than 25 eggs! So, breeding can be quite productive.

You can only have one male per terrarium, otherwise there will be murder and manslaughter. terrarium is big enough, can be kept 2-3 females, but it is safer to keep them in pairs.


Any live food available on the market corresponding to its size can be used as food for the Oriental garden lizard, but baby mice are used very rarely, if they are used. Of course, the diet must be varied and always well pollinated. To cover the low need for plant food, suitable plants can be planted in the terrarium, preferably in pots.


Behind the “dry period”, the males will begin to mate, so its coloring is especially attractive, and if they keep well, mating will also occur. The females will put up 20 eggs that must be incubated for about 80 days. Juveniles should be kept as adults, with live food appropriate to its size.

For sale "Oriental garden lizard"

The price of a "Oriental garden lizard" ranges between 15 – 20 EUR.

Alternative names:

1. Oriental garden lizard, Eastern garden lizard, Indian garden lizard, Common garden lizard, Bloodsucker, or Changeable lizard (English).
2. Agame versicolore, Galéote versicolore, Lézard arlequin, Agame arlequin (French).
3. Blutsaugeragame, Verschiedenfarbige Schönechse bezeichnet (German).
4. Lagarto-de-Jardim-Oriental, Lagarto comum do jardim, Lagarto jardim indiano (Portuguese).
5. Lagarto bosque de Emma versicolor, Lagarto de jardín Oriental (español).

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